Animation Careers

Animation is one of the fastest growing industries today, offering opportunities for many different types of creatives. The job scope of an animator can vary greatly depending on type of animation and size of the project. Some small projects may have a small team of animators creating almost all of the different elements themselves. Other large scale projects often have many different positions all collaborating together, allowing the creators to focus on their specialized skills.

We’ve compiled a list of the most common types of animation jobs for you below. The scope of these positions will change with the size and type of projects be produced, however this list will help you understand the different aspect of the animation industry and where you should focus, in order to pursue the career that best fits to your passions and unique talents.

3D Modeler

3D Modelers specialize in building characters and environments that are based on the concept art. They do this generally by designing a 3d frame, then applying the 2d concept by painting or wrapping it to that frame.

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Modelers also create character skeletons, which animators then control. Modeling is performed using a variety of programs such as Maya, 3DS Max, Pixar’s RenderMan, POV-Ray, and many others. 

3D Modeler Jobs 3D modelers create characters and environments for video games and 3D movies as well as images and modeling for websites, graphic designs, animation, film effects, simulations, broadcast design, special effects, characters and props for film, television effects, CD-Rom design, and location-based entertainment. These multi-talented professionals also create images/models for geologists, architects, scientists, engineers, healthcare agencies, and more.

3D modelers work in film and video production studios, game design companies, advertising and graphic design firms, web design firms, software companies, architecture firms, laboratories (both science and medical), colleges and universities, product design firms, and manufacturing firms (retail, home, tools, etc.).

Modelers also work in aerospace and for environmental agencies, automotive companies, retail firms, government agencies, crime labs (forensics), interior design firms, building technology firms, real estate companies, and many others.

Animator

Animator is a general term used to describe one or many of the animation rolls involved in visual effects for films, video games, television, mobile devices, and other forms of media using illustrations and software programs.

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Animators are generally familiar with a number of different software programs such as: Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, Autodesk3ds Max, and Autodesk Maya are just a few leading software programs for animators. Animators also create graphics and develop storyboards, drawings and illustrations. They create, plan, and script animated narrative sequences, and assist with background design and production coordination.

Animator Jobs The Bureau of Labor Statistics combines multimedia artists and animators into one career group. According to the Bureau, “multimedia artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games.

Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Creating computer-generated images (CGI) may include taking images of an actor’s movements, which are then animated into three-dimensional characters. Other animators design scenery or backgrounds for locations.” The Bureau reports that multimedia artists and animators work primarily in the following industries:

  • Motion Picture and Video Industries
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services
  • Software Publishers
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
  • Specialized Design Services

The Bureau also mentions that a staggering 57 percent of animators were self-employed in 2012. This is the most current figure for self-employed animators. These professionals, not just the self-employed, often work from home.

Others work at film, animation or video game production studios, cartoon networks, advertising agencies, web design firms, graphic design firms, and mobile technology companies. Some work in office settings.

Art Director

Art directors create the overall concept design and visual direction of a project. They have a good understanding of the big picture and the objectives of the project and generally oversee that the development successfully fulfills that goal.

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Art direction requires years of experience, advanced technical skills, and advanced knowledge in the areas of art and management. As such, art director is considered a high level position that offers many financial rewards. Professionals in this specialized field are among the highest paid artists in the art and design world.

Art Director Jobs On any given day, an art director will review artist materials, select photographs, and manage the layout and production of material to be produced. They direct visual artists such as animators, illustrators, and graphic designers and they manage teams of copywriters and content writers. Many art directors help make budgeting decisions and hire and train creative staff.

Art directors work in animation production studios, advertising firms, game design companies, graphic design firms, web design firms, film and TV studios, public relations firms, newspaper and book publishers, museums, and colleges.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that art directors also work in wholesaling, employment services, and scientific research and development. However, in 2014, a hefty fifteen percent of art directors worked for advertising and public relations firms. Publishing had the second highest concentration of workers in this field.

Flash Animator

Flash animators create the many different designs that we see everyday on web sites, videos, advertising, games, education materials, and more. They often coordinate with creative directors to ensure that the animation compliments the design and works in harmony with the technology used to drive the finished product.

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Flash Animator Jobs Flash animators create animation to enhance everything from banners to web sites. They work with a variety of software such as Macromedia Flash, Adobe Flash, Creative Suite, and Dreamweaver (formerly Macromedia Dreamweaver), 3DS Max, and After Effects.

Flash animators have excellent design, art, and layout skills as well as a superior command of high-end 3D packages. Flash animators work in educational publishing, advertising and public relations, the motion picture and video industries, software publishing, game design and development, specialized design services, computer systems design and related services, marketing firms, web design firms, graphic design firms, the mobile technology industry and more.

Stop Motion Animator

Stop motion animation includes many different styles such as model, puppet and clamation. Stop motion animators use models, puppets, or clay to create animated films, television commercials, branded entertainment, and more.

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Just a few of the best stop motion movies ever made include The Nightmare Before Christmas, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Chicken Run, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, and Little Otik.

Stop Motion Animator Jobs Stop motion animators combine the art of photography, narrative skill, and the ability to manipulate lighting and calculate angles to create stop motion animation without digitally manipulating it.

The animator creates pictures of objects, characters, or scenes that show them in various positions. When the pictures run together, it appears that the object is moving on its own. This creates one of the most unique forms of animation, which is neither cartoon-like nor similar to computer-generated animations. Stop motion animators work for animation studios, film studios, game design and development companies, and advertising agencies.

Video Game Designer

Video game design is one of the fasted growing entertainment industries creating jobs for a number of different skill sets. Some video game designers create design elements and art while others may take on the more technical challenges of the game.

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Video game designers use a combination of technology, science, engineering, mathematics, design, art, and animation skills to create realistic action packed video games that rake in billions of dollars in sales around the world .

In addition to the entertainment industry, video game designers create interactive games for the mobile technology industry, education, advertising and marketing, web design, and many businesses.

Animation Director

Animation directors are among the most sought after professionals in the animation industry. They are in charge of assembling and leading the animation team through the production. They need to have years of experience in the art and animation industry and understand many different facets.

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Animation Director Jobs In addition to recruiting, coordinating and managing animation teams, animation directors work with the director (the person that manages the production overall) by interpreting briefs and communicating them to the animation team. During the production process, animation directors review all work produced by animators and assistants.

They answer to the production department on longer projects regarding schedule, budget, and output. It is the animation directors job to make sure the creative desires and production requirements are met, which means, the animation director must be able to negotiate with both departments to reach the best agreement for the good of the production.

Animation directors work in a variety of settings including animation studios, television production studios, film production studios, gaming companies, and advertising agencies. Some animation directors work on a project to project basis as independent contractors.

Background Painter

A background painter creates the backgrounds for animated and live-action films. They generally have a well rounded artistic eye and are able to design the many different elements needed in scenes.

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This requires advanced skills in developing 2D and 3D backgrounds. Background Painter Jobs Background painters draw, paint or create backgrounds manually, by computer or both for animated and live action productions.

With a strong sense of compositing, design, color, and proportioning, these creative individual’s design backgrounds for characters and objects to live in and move through in a natural manner. Some of the different types of software that may be used include Maya, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

Background painters work in a variety of environments such as animation studios, film and video production studios, and gaming companies. They may also work in the web design, graphic design or advertising industries.

Cartoonist

Creating a cartoon often combines a few talents, such as drawing skills and character development. Often, cartoonists create or contribute to a storyline and are able to capture the overall idea of the cartoon with their illustrations.

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While many cartoonists work for newspapers, magazines, and other print publications, some also work in the television and film industry. TV and film cartoonist may draw animated cartoons, prepare model drawings and sketches of characters, and draw special effects for animation projects.

Cartoonist Jobs Cartoonists work for animation studios, film and video studios, cartoon networks, gaming companies, print publications, and publishing companies. In the animation industry, they render drawings of  characters, environments, and objects for small and large-scale productions.

Additional duties may include developing moods and color patterns, dramatizing action, and create and paint background scenes. Cartoonists may draw characters and scenes manually, on the computer or a combination of both.

Character Animator

Character animators are great in developing interesting, fun or exciting characters. Often, they create a character in a 2d or 3d form, then work to animate it’s motion, sometimes with the help of a 3d Modeler.

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Character Animator Jobs Character animators create then manipulate animated characters to interact in digital environments by using computer software such as MotionBuilder 3D, Flash Professional, LightWave, Maya and other programs. They also draw storyboards, create models, and design environments. Character animators work with sound engineers to make sure movements are in harmony with sound, and they work with clients to help pitch ideas and develop concepts.

Character animators work in film and video production studios, advertising agencies, public relations firms, software publishers, computer systems design firms, graphic design firms, game design firms, web design firms, and at colleges and universities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a hefty 57 percent of animators were self-employed in 2012. This is the most recent figure for self-employed animators. These professionals, not just the self-employed, often work from home. Others work at film, animation or video game production studios, cartoon networks, advertising agencies, web design firms, graphic design firms, and mobile technology companies. Some work in office settings.

Character Rigger

Character riggers are the technical talent that merges characters interactions with their environments. These experts accomplish with a thorough understanding of physics and anatomy, operating systems such as UNIX, and software such as Autodesk Maya, Motion Builder, 3D Studio Max, and XSI.

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Character Rigger Jobs Character rigging is a very tedious process. It requires creativity, precision, and an eye for detail. As such, character riggers are responsible for using computer programs to form skeletons by creating a series of bones that deform and animate specific parts of the character.

Character riggers may also help develop tools for animation production processes, collaborate with modelers and animators, and develop new techniques to solve character production challenges. Character riggers work in animation studios, for game design companies, web design firms, computer software companies, and more.

Color Key Artists

Color key artists have a great eye for color and help to create the overall color palette for the project. For large projects, this roll can be quite extensive as it’s their responsibility to have elements congruent throughout the scenes and backgrounds.

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Color Key Artist Jobs Color key artists develop color schemes in animations, they paint and design animation backgrounds, and they work with technical directors on light rigging. Also called “background painters” or “look development painters,” color key artists create color schemes that are appropriate for different lighting situations such as “at night’ or “underwater.”

Color key artists work primarily in the animation and game design industries. A typical job with an animation or game studio may require painting/rendering color keys for animations along with expertise in industry software programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Composition Artists

A compositing artist is one of the most important players in the production process. They are responsible for helping create the final finished animation or film project by detecting errors and developing compositing strategies, which results in an overall balanced look.

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Compositing artists may use compositing software such as Adobe After Effects, Flame 3D Visual Effects (VFX), Motion 5, Nuke, or others to help flesh out the final touches.

Compositing Artist Jobs Compositing artists work with lighting directors and FX artists to help create the final finished product. According to the career center at DePaul University, compositing artists, FX artists, and lighting directors work together to develop compositing strategies and achieve an aesthetically balanced overall look.

The compositing artist corrects errors that may not have been anticipated by other departments. Compositing artists may also work with lighting and digital or live action elements. Compositing artists work primarily in the film and video industries, but they may also find work in the game design and development industry or advertising.

Concept Artists

Concept artists or “conceptual artists” create visual images of ideas for use in areas such as animation, comic book illustration, gaming, advertising, print, and many others. Concept artists work with other art departments to ensure that the right visual style is reflected in each part of the project.

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Concept Artist Jobs Concept artists have a unique skill set. They have mastered the art of using paint, pencils, software programs, or whatever it takes to draw weapons, vehicles, environments, graphics, or the characters needed for any given project.

Concept artists create these visuals for animation studios, film and video production companies, gaming companies, advertising agencies, graphic design firms, print publications, web design firms, interior design or decorating firms, and even architecture firms.

Digital Painter

Digital painters work with 2D drawn animation, 2D computer animation, and 3D digital computer animation. They add color to images created by animators and work as part of a team consisting of compositors, color key artists, scanners, and color stylists.

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The entire team works under the direction of the head of digital color and compositing.

Digital Painter Jobs Digital painters receive drawings from the animation department. They use computer software to clean up line work, if needed, then add color using software programs such as Photoshop, Toon Boom, Illustrator, Animo, and Opus Creator.

Digital painters have an exceptional eye for color and detail. These fine artists also understand the animation process, which helps them deliver spectacular images. Digital painters work for animation studios, film and video production companies, and in the game design and development industry.

Effects Animator

Effects animators are responsible for adding natural or supernatural characters or things to animated films. They work with VFX supervisors to determine the most effective approach to solving effects issues and develop the finished, final product.

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Effects Animator Jobs Effects animators create effects based on concept art and design from art departments. They use 3D lighting and effects and compositing tools to achieve the desired look.

In addition to VFX supervisors, effects animators work with technical directors, designers, and art directors to create realistic effects. Effects animators collaborate with other departments on the best approach to improving throughput. This requires thorough knowledge of tools and interfaces. Effects animators are experts with Houdini, Renderman, Mantra, Nuke, and other technology used to create effects.

They work for animation studios and film and video production studios, ad well as gaming companies, web design firms, graphic design firms, and advertising agencies.

Forensic Animator

Forensic animation is one of the most unique specializations in the animation industry. Instead of creating animation for video games, films, and cartoons, professional forensic animators recreate crime scenes or accidents to help investigators produce evidence and solve crimes.

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In addition to a background in animation, many forensic animators have a legal or criminal justice background. Forensic Animator Jobs Forensic animators use full-motion computer graphics to recreate events such as accidents, assaults, robberies, and other crimes. They create 3D terrains, model CG environments using advanced techniques for lighting, photo matching, and rendering; animate characters, composite animations, capture video, use video tracking and matching techniques, develop DVDs of final animations, design graphics and court exhibits, and use photogrammetry.

Forensic animators must first collaborate with eyewitnesses, police officers, forensic experts, and others to create a series of fixed video images to use for creating an animated rendition of any given event. Forensic animators may use a number of software programs to create animated renditions including Adobe Illustrator, 3DS Max, AutoCAD, Photoshop, Adobe Flash Professional CC, After Effects, Adobe Premiere, Anark Core, and Eos Systems PhotoModeler.

Forensic animators work for law enforcement agencies, investigative firms, attorneys, government agencies, and science and medical labs. Many are self-employed and work for multiple agencies.

Inbetweener

The animation historians at Disney say that “at most animation studios, the best animators only sketched a few animation drawings, leaving gaps in between. Later on, a person called an “inbetweener” would finish the scenes by drawing in between the areas that the animator had left.”

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Well, not much has changed about this key position. Today most job descriptions affirm that inbetweeners are responsible for the continuity of movement between scenes in an animated production. Inbetweeners decide how animated characters will move when transitioning between major key movement scenes. Many aspiring animators spend several years in the inbetween department in order to gain valuable experience in the industry.

Inbetweener Jobs After the animator draws out key scenes, it is up to the inbetweener to take the images and create the characters’ movements in transitioning between scenes. Inbetweeners use illustration and 2D animation skills to complete the tasks at hand.

Inbetweeners take direction from assistant animators, animators, and animation directors primarily at animation production studios, motion picture and video production studios, gaming companies and multimedia firms.

Key Animator

After working as an animator for at least three years, some animators may advance to key animator—a senior level position.  Also called “senior animator,” key animators typically advance to even higher level positions after holding this title for several years.

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Becoming a successful senior animator is the final test before being promoted to director. Although higher ranking than an animator, the key animator still does his fair share of creative work, but this position requires more management and directing than an intermediate animation position.

Key Animator Jobs In addition to helping develop main characters, key animators guide junior crew members through pre-production. They manage pre-production by determining how animation will be executed by working with riggers and model makers to make sure models and puppets are rigged properly for action scenes.

Once pre-production is complete and production begins, the key animator helps manage the entire production by working with the director to complete the project on time and within budget. Key animators work primarily for animation studios and motion picture and video production companies, as well as gaming companies. Some may work for advertising firms.

Art Director

Art directors develop design concepts and review material that will appear in digital media, newspapers, advertisements, books, magazines, and more. They control the overall visual direction of a project in industries from advertising and public relations to web design.

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Art direction requires years of experience, advanced technical skills, and advanced knowledge in the areas of art and management. As such, art director is considered a high level position that offers many financial rewards. Professionals in this specialized field are among the highest paid artists in the art and design world.

Art Director Jobs On any given day, an art director will review artist materials, select photographs, and manage the layout and production of material to be produced. They direct visual artists such as animators, illustrators, and graphic designers and they manage teams of copywriters and content writers. Many art directors help make budgeting decisions and hire and train creative staff.

Art directors work in animation production studios, advertising firms, game design companies, graphic design firms, web design firms, film and TV studios, public relations firms, newspaper and book publishers, museums, and colleges.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that art directors also work in wholesaling, employment services, and scientific research and development. However, in 2014, a hefty fifteen percent of art directors worked for advertising and public relations firms. Publishing had the second highest concentration of workers in this field.

Lighting Technician 

In animation, lighting technicians work with the lighting department to create color keys, compositing renderings, and light rigs for shots. In addition to animation skills, lighting technicians use design skills and knowledge of shadows and lighting to create the environments and characters that the project calls for.

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Lighting Technician Jobs Depending on the animation project, lighting technicians use back, key, fill, and background light to illuminate subjects, backgrounds, and scenes. They use a variety of techniques to create appropriate lighting schemes for situations such as a rainy day, underwater, darkness, foggy, sunny, or whatever the project dictates.

Lighting technicians work for animation studios, gaming companies, film and video production studios, advertising agencies, graphic design firms, and web design firms. Lighting Technician Salaries The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not offer salary information for lighting technicians, but it does list this occupation under “Motion Picture and Video Industries.” Salaries for workers in this field vary by education and experience, type of work, studio, and many other factors, so you may earn more or less than the average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers in the motion picture and video industries were $627, compared with $608 for workers in all industries combined.

Becoming a Lighting Technician If you are interested in becoming a lighting technician for an animation company, a degree in animation is the best way to get your foot in the door. Animation students learn about lighting and texturing, modeling/rigging, drawing for animation, body mechanics in animation, and advanced lighting and texturing techniques. The animation program curriculum will give you the skills you need to compete in this extremely competitive field. In addition to a degree in animation, employers also prefer experience. For entry-level positions, experience through an internship or part-time support position is acceptable. For advanced positions, you will need no less than 2 years’ professional experience in the industry.

Job Trends for Lighting Technicians Lighting technicians working in the film and video industry and games industry can expect steady employment growth through 2018. Lighting technicians in the film and video industry can expect employment growth to average 14 percent through 2018. Lighting technicians in the games industry can expect average employment growth of seven to 13 percent through 2018. Lighting technicians with advanced software skills and knowledge of the very latest programs will have the most opportunities.

Mathematical Modeler 

Mathematical modelers use mathematical models to illustrate processes or solve complex problems. These skills can be applied to a number of fields including animation. Many mathematical modelers use their mathematical modeling skills along with software technology to create and animate 3D representations of processes.

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Mathematical Modeler Jobs According to mathematical modeler Nira Chamberlain, modelers pinpoint the essence of what makes something work, be it a jet engine, a social network, or even the economy, and phrase it in mathematical language. Modelers encode the main features of the process with equations, and then simulate it. By doing this, modelers can gain a deeper understanding of the process, conduct experiments (that would otherwise be unfeasible or even impossible to do), and predict future behavior.

Mathematical modelers work in dozens of different industries from aerospace to zoology. In entertainment focused industries, mathematical modelers may work on technical teams in video game design, video game programming, animation, and film and video.

Mathematical Modeler Salaries Mathematical modelers earn some of the highest salaries in the career world. Even entry-level modelers can earn a lucrative salary, along with the opportunity to move up quickly in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual wages of mathematical modelers (mathematicians) were $95,150 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $71,430 and $119,480 and the lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $53,570. The highest 10 percent earned more than $140,500.

Becoming a Mathematical Modeler Mathematical modelers typically hold a Ph.D., but not all employers require one. In some cases, a master’s degree and experience may be acceptable. If you’re interested in using your mathematical skills in the animation or gaming industry, you might consider a minor in animation or game design or taking related courses.

Job Trends for Mathematical Modelers Employment growth for mathematical modelers (mathematicians) is expected to average 22 percent for the 2008-2018 decade. This is much faster than average for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job competition will remain keen because employment in this occupation is relatively small and few new jobs are expected. Ph.D. holders with a strong background in mathematics and a related discipline, such as engineering or computer science, and who apply mathematical theory to real-world problems will have the best job prospects in related occupations. In addition, mathematicians with experience in computer programming will better their job prospects in many occupations.

Render Wrangler 

Render wranglers, also called “technical resource administrators” (TRA), are accustomed to high pressure environments. This highly detailed job might require the wrangler to monitor and control the rendering process and monitor a few computers or an entire render farm of hundreds of machines.

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Render wranglers monitor the computers to ensure (input/output) of data across various file systems and initiate data moves to allocate disk space. Render wranglers communicate with animators, producers, supervisors, resource managers, coordinators, and other artists across various departments.

Render Wrangler Jobs When artists submit completed data for rendering, the render wrangler prioritizes work and allocates machines. They monitor the computers around the clock to make sure there are no technical or computer problems that could hinder successful output. According to Skillset Animation, rendering can be required in the planning stages and throughout production, including development and tests for models, animation, effects, lighting, etc. Although

Animators usually check their own work in progress, animation may need to be rendered to view subtle movements such as facial expressions. Render wranglers work with compositors about the delivery of final rendered CG (computer graphic) elements. Render wranglers work for animation studios, motion picture and video production studios, and gaming companies.

Storyboard Artist 

Storyboard artists draw storyboards for animated features, films, television commercials and other ad campaigns, music videos, and video games. The storyboard artist begins creating the storyboard after a concept or script has been written. The storyboard presents the “action” in a series of scenes (panel by panel), which allows filmmakers, advertisers, and producers to evaluate the project before beginning production.

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Storyboards are also used to provide direction during production. Storyboard Artist Jobs Storyboard artists draw scenes by hand or computer. They might sketch in black and white or they may produce full color storyboards manually or by computer.

Also called “storyboarders,” storyboard artists work with producers, directors, and film crew from start to finish by sketching scenes during initial meetings, and editing or eliminating scenes as the project progresses. Storyboard artists may work in a film or other production studio, in an office setting, or even a home studio.

Texture Artist 

A texture artist’s job is to paint surface textures on animated characters, environments, and props. The number of textures animators work with is endless and may include things such as wrinkles, fur, scales, sweat, and mud. In some cases, the textures used in animation cannot be found in real life. In these instances, the texture artist invents his own textures using his imagination and creativity skills.

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Texture Artist Jobs Texture artists use a variety of software, platforms, and rendering environments to create textures for environments, characters, objects, and props for animated films, television shows, and video games. Some of the most common types of software, platforms, and rendering environments used in animation include Photoshop, 3D Paint, UV Layout/Editing, RenderMan, Mental Ray, Maya, Shaders, and Houdini.

Texture artists also use digital matte painting techniques to create textures and they work with advanced surface types, subsurface scattering, and global illumination. Texture artists work in animation studios, film and video production studios, for game companies, web design companies, graphic design firms, advertising firms, and even mobile technology companies.

Texture Artist Salaries The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports salaries for fine artists and animators. These salary averages will give you an idea of what you can expect to earn as an entry-level, intermediate, or senior level artist. Median annual wages of salaried fine artists were $44,850 as of May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned $19,190 and the highest 10 percent earned $89,720. In May 2009, the mean annual wage for animators overall was $62,810 per year. The lowest paid animators earned $32,360 per year and the highest paid animators earned $99,130 per year.

Becoming a Texture Artist Employers prefer to hire texture artists with a bachelor’s degree in animation, film, or fine arts. They also prefer a minimum of 2 years’ professional experience in production. Texture artists with advanced knowledge of applicable software, platforms, and rendering environments are also at the top of the list. Although the use of technology dominates the industry, traditional painting skills are still a requirement for most (if not all) texture artist jobs.

Job Trends for Texture Artists Employment growth for fine artists, including painters and illustrators, is expected to average nine percent for the 2008-2018 decade. For artists and related workers combined, expected employment growth is 12 percent. Employment growth in the animation industry is higher than any other field in the artists and related workers category.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the 2008-2018 decade, employment growth in this industry is 14 percent. Wage and salary employment in the motion picture and video industries is also expected to grow 14 percent between 2008 and 2018, compared with 11 percent growth projected for wage and salary employment in all industries combined.

Visual Development Artist 

Visual development artists design and develop the look and feel of feature films, animations, videos, and other types of productions. These artists may also work in advertising, publishing, marketing, or public relations. In the animation industry, visual development artists imagine and propose ideas for what the animated world should look like based on the story, characters, and action.

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Visual development artists also work with character emotions to help assist with the storytelling aspect of the animated production. Visual Development Artist Jobs Visual development artists work with creative departments to develop backgrounds, colors, lighting, environments, and props for films, animated pieces and more. They use animation, illustration, drawing, and design skills to create visuals that convey ideas about how they envision the look of the piece. Visual development artists typically work in 2D or 3D and they use programs such as Photoshop and Maya.

Visual development artists work in animation studios, film and video production studios, game design and development firms, and web design, graphic design and advertising and public relations firms. Visual development artists work in the rapidly growing mobile technology field as well.

Animation Education

Courses, Schools and Degrees

The animation industry includes a variety of different types of entertainment offering a wide range of career opportunities. Some may only require training in a specific area, while others may require a more indepth understanding of multiple aspects of animation.

Often, the journey of animator takes many twists and turns requiring the ability to adapt to different work environments and take on new creative projects. Your level of education and training will directly affect you ability to successfully land these golden opportunities and take on the projects that most excite you.

Fortunately, there are many different options when it comes to learning animation and moving forward with a career. Some animators simply take the needed courses to get started and continue their training as they determine which areas most interest them and build upon their unique talents. Others, arm themselves with a more comprehensive understanding of their craft and focus on getting a  high level of education and degree before entering the animation job market.

The important thing to remember is to consider your creative strengths and interests, then take action by studying the essentials needed for your interests. From there you can build and expand upon your education, adding specialized knowledge where needed. A good first step is to speak with a few different schools and understand their programs, how they differ, and determine which one will best prepare you for a successful entry into animation. Consider your options, but don’t waste time, get started on your dream career as a professional animator!